Tackling ‘quiet quitting’ in supply chains starts with leadership

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Mass resignation has given way to the popular concept of “quiet quitting,” or just doing the essentials of your job without going above and beyond the bare minimum requirements.

I got it. Some level of impending doom gets people thinking about their future. And that future may not include chasing parts and solving global supply chain hiccups. Perhaps these days there is more than one former buyer who is now baking bread, brewing a cappuccino, sailing around the world or even working in marketing.

But for those still holding a job, everyone knows that their workday goes faster when you are busy, engaged, and contributing. It’s just easier to do the work and take pride in your profession and professionalism.

So where does the “quiet quitting” phenomenon leave procurement? At risk, as usual. Information that has slowed down or evaporated due to lack of effort has a significant negative impact on our performance and the information we need to manage our suppliers.

We depend on a wide range of functional colleagues to get our jobs done, from planning to finance. Our days are filled with the give and take from just about every function in the workplace, each of which could be impacted by someone who’s failing to do their job well.

Consider the quiet quitter in the receiving department who stops ensuring every delivery is accounted for before the end of the day, leading to inaccurate supplier performance data. Or think of the person in planning who fails to give you the changes in a forecast that can skew your current negotiation. Perhaps the quiet quitter engineer who doesn’t respond to a supplier quality problem, delaying a delivery and even idling a production line.

Labor shortages, inventory challenges, logistics constraints and reshoring and nearshoring efforts continue to keep global supply chains fragile. Selected quiet quitting at key suppliers, or even those in distant parts of the supply chain, can create a butterfly effect on the performance of your entire supply base.

So how do tackle quiet quitting in the supply chain? It starts with leadership.

Your own company leadership needs to set the tone, and the expectation, that quiet quitting is not in anyone’s best interest. It is time to reengage with the workplace, no matter how it has changed. Procurement professionals can set the example within their companies by showcasing their usual sense of teamwork, urgency and commitment.

Suppliers might also be feeling the effect of quiet quitting in their organization or throughout their extension of the supply chain. Leaders should ensure that suppliers also step up to put a stop to this burgeoning trend.

Add quiet quitting to your list of supply chain risk elements. And leave room on that list for what’s next, whatever it may be.

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